MA2051 - Ordinary Differential Equations
Course Syllabus D96

Arthur Heinricher, Stratton 202A, 831-5397, heinrich@wpi

OFFICE HOURS: M, F, 9:00---9:50; Tu, Th, 9:00---10:30, and by appointment.

TEACHING ASSISTANT: Michael Doherty, Stratton 104, 831-5546, tritt@wpi

TEXT: Differential Equations for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering by Paul W. Davis.

About the Course:
MA2051 is about Differential Equations---equations involving rates of change. This course is a capstone for the calculus sequence and you will use the tools developed during the calculus sequence. The focus of the course will be on the analysis and interpretation of solutions, not on simply finding the solution. Thinking is required.

Course Goals:
During the next seven weeks, you should learn how to:

  1. Formulate mathematical models using differential equations.
  2. Solve differential equations.
  3. Analyze and criticize the solutions in terms of the original model.

Course Structure:
There are three lecture meetings and two conference sessions each week.

The purpose of the lecture meeting is to outline the course material, to introduce tools and approaches to building and solving differential equations. The purpose of the conference sessions is to expand upon material introduced in lecture and in the text.

You will form ``learning groups'' of three students within your conference section. Projects will be done in this group framework; the group hands in one paper. You are encouraged to work in groups on the homework problems, but each individual must submit his or her own paper for grading.

Grading Scheme:

Your course grade will be based on two test grades, a homework grade, and a project grade. A perfect score will be 400 points and the minimum needed for an A will be 360 points, the minimum needed for a B will be 320 points, and the minimum needed for a C will be 280 points.

TESTS: There will be two (in-class) tests worth 100 points each:

TEST 1: Wednesday, April 3

TEST 2: Wednesday, May 1

Tests are closed book and notes; you may use calculator.

Make-up tests will be given at the discretion of the lecturer. Valid excuses for missing a test are a doctor's excuse or other unavoidable emergencies which you can document. If you miss a test, you must contact the lecturer within three days of the originally scheduled test date.

HOMEWORK: At least ten homework sets will be collected during the term and a final homework average adjusted to a 100 point scale.

Problem sets will be selected from the list of recommended problems and announced at least one day before they are due. One or two problems will be chosen from those collected and graded in detail; this will be your grade for the homework set. At the end of the term, the two lowest homework grades will be dropped and the average adjusted to a 100 point scale.

The homework will often include material that has not been discussed in lecture. You are expected to learn on your own and to make use of the text, the conference session, and other resources available to you in order to complete these assignments.

No late homework will be graded. Your explanations and presentation are graded; not just the final ``answer''. Sloppy homework will be returned ungraded and you get a zero; no kidding.

Include your name and section as well as the due date on each homework set. Label all problems clearly with their number and section. Some assignments will require that you use computer software to solve differential equations. You may use any package that you wish (MATLAB and MAPLE are obvious choices), but you must include copies of the appropriate computer output with your write-up. Initial and date each printout.

PROJECTS: You will complete two projects during the term, each worth 50 points.

The projects will be introduced in the conference sessions. Working in your learning group, you will complete both project assignments and you will evaluate the work of another team on each project. Express yourself clearly and concisely and address the report to your peers; they will be evaluating your work.

BONUS POINTS: There will be several opportunities to gain bonus points during the term. Some of these points will be for special quizzes and some special problems announced in the lecture and/or the conference session.


© 1996 by
Will Brother. All rights Reserved. File last modified on March 26, 1996.